Franco Duoth Diu, deputy governor of Southern Liech State which saw some of the most intense fighting, says that unless a deal is done change will be forced on the rival leaders.

“These two men will be looking at something very different unless they can agree,” he warns. “The pressure is from the international community but also the community here.”

“People are tired. Corruption is the medicine of the day.”

What everyone fears, and many are braced for, is no deal at all. The last time Kiir and Machar clashed, an estimated 380,000 people perished and nearly two million were displaced in a wave of terror and famine which subsumed the country from December 2013 to October 2018.

Both government and opposition forces “intentionally targeted targeted civilians, often on the basis of ethnicity”, reported Amnesty International in a detailed 2018 study of the conflict.

While many were killed by gunfire, others were “burned alive in their homes, hung from trees and rafters, or run over with armoured vehicles”. Thousands more were subjected to “rape, gang rape, sexual slavery, sexual mutilation, torture, castration and forced nudity”.

It was the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa since the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.


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